Ruins of collapsed buildings in Rawd El Farag, Cairo, December 12, 2017 – Abdel Rahman El Sayed
CAIRO –13 March 2018: Over the past few years, news relating to full or partial building collapses remarkably makes daily headlines.
According to Hassan Allam, former head of the authority overseeing construction works through inspection, the total values of the unlicensed real estate investments across Egypt have been recorded to amount to LE375 billion.
Egypt has 13, 441, 680 buildings, of which 10, 111, 607 buildings do not need to be repaired, while 3, 231, 852 buildings need to be overhauled, and 97,609 buildings need to be demolished, stated a report released in February by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Communities.
MP Yousry el Moghazy, deputy head of the Parliamentarian Housing Committee said that according to the statistics of the local development department, there are 90,000 buildings about to fall down, representing 15 percent of the total number of the buildings in Egypt.
Bureaucracy and lack of alternative visions for the problem:
In 2016, Wafd reported that due to the ongoing rising residential rents, many families can accept lodging in unlicensed buildings as they have no other place to go.
The report also cited one of the soon-to-be-married young people, Mohamed Osman, who said that after signing a contract of some residential unit, he found out that the building is not legally licensed. Osman just could not help but settle the deal because he cannot afford rentals in any other place.
Mohamed Mahmoud, a contractor, said that the owner of some land can strike a deal with a contractor to build whatever he wants without the need to wait for the issuance of the legal license as it takes a long time.
The buildings collapse for two main reasons; first one boils down to the poor execution of the property as contractors want to gain a lot of money in a short time regardless of how solid the foundation of the building is, head of the authority overseeing construction works through inspection, Abdel Moneim Saleh said in press statements.
He further added that the aging properties are also overlooked and need to be restored.
Unified building law: Parliament’s quick remedy for the problem?
In late February, The Housing Committee convened to further discuss the newly-proposed Reconciliation of Building Violations law, by which the government would be reconciled with the violators as long as their unlicensed buildings do not violate the construction safety regulations and the authorized heights, are not built on agricultural or state-owned lands, and do not alter the features of distinctive architecture buildings in return for fees.
Under this law, building owners and contractors shall submit their settlement request to the concerned administrative authority during a three-month mandate and pay the fees needed to complete the reconciliation process. The money garnered will immediately go to the state’s budget to be spent on infrastructure and other development projects, according to Moataz Mahmoud, chairman of the Housing, Public Utilities and Reconstruction Committee.
Since January 2015, the ministry has launched a campaign to remove violations that had been detected by the government on the Nile banks. As per the ministry’s latest data, announced on Tuesday, a total of 26,322 encroachment violations on the Nile banks have been removed. Since March 2017, a total of 12,425 cases of encroachment were removed, according to the data.